Drilon: 2014 Budget seeks swift project implementation

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon is hopeful that bureaucratic red tape that turns away business sector will be restricted with the new feature of the proposed P2.268-trillion 2014 National Budget that will allow agencies to proceed with implementing their projects on the first day of the year sans submission of Agency Budget Matrices (ABMs) and request for release of Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs).

One of the innovations introduced by the Executive branch to the budget is the budget-as-a-release document regime, which means that the budgets of agencies are considered released to them as soon as the National Budget is enacted, noted Drilon.

SAROs and ABMs are documents that authorize the agency to enter into an obligation or commitment.

“On the first day of the year, the approved National Budget will be enough to authorize all government agencies to obligate their budget without needing to submit budget matrices, which takes considerable time of about two months before agencies could actually submit them,” said Drilon, who, in the last Congress, chaired the Senate Finance Committee that hears the budget.

“That one or two months being spent by agencies in preparing these documentary requirements could have been spent in the actual implementation of important programs such as the building of classrooms, health centers, or provision of medicines to our elderly,” emphasized Drilon.

“The new system, once in place, can help cut red tape and ease and speed-up the processes securing a really early delivery of much-needed programs and services,” said Drilon, noting, however, that there will still be minimal items in the budget that will be needing clearance from proper authorities which may include, among others, intelligence and lump-sum funds.

“Sa tuwing may budget hearing at sisitahin namin yung agencies kung bakit delayed yung implementation ng kanilang mga proyekto, scapegoat nila ang DBM. Wala pong ni-release na budget ang DBM. Late dumating ang SARO,” said Drilon.

(“Whenever we would ask agencies to explain why there are delays in the implementation of their programs, they would pass the blame to budget department, making it their scapegoat. The DBM did not release us funds. The SARO is released late.”)

Drilon warned agencies: “you will have no one to blame but yourselves if you still fail to implement your programs and deliver services to our people in a timely manner come 2014.”

He also encouraged agencies to proceed with the bidding process, short of award, while the budget is still being deliberated, so that once it is approved, they can already obligate their budgets.#